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Utah tourism is still thriving during the pandemic as locals explore

SALT LAKE CITY — It doesn’t look like international tourism to Utah will be back in force in the near future.  But a lot more Utahns are visiting our national and state parks which almost makes up for the lack of tourists from overseas.

Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism spoke on KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovick this morning the long-term outlook is very bright. From 2019 into 2020, Utah parks saw a 33% increase in visitors to Utah’s State Parks alone

Varela states that the rise in tourism is uneven in the National Parks.  While Arches, Canyon Lands and Zion National Parks are congested — Capitol Reed and Bryce Canyon are not.

“People shouldn’t lump ‘The Mighty Five’ into one big glob,” said Varela.  The ‘mighty five’ refers to Utah’s five national parks. 

She said visitors to the top three mentioned parks do need to plan accordingly and be prepared for timed entries in some locations.  But there’s very little congestion at other tourist attractions.

Varela is please so many more Utahns are visiting ‘the great outdoors.’  But cautions “Some are new to nature.  They need guidance on how to plan properly and be respectful.”  She referenced several cases of vandalism on Utah’s petroglyphs.

“We need to be good stewards so we can all enjoy the outdoors in the future.” Varela said.  “we need to be ambassadors to keep our ancient history protected.”

Heart of Utah: Archery, Bigfoot, Dinosaurs and Yurts — Utah State Parks becoming crown jewels